"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Jesus Died Most Likely on the Mount of Olives

Any casual perusal of the Old Testament reveals that the Hebrew people worshiped God through a very elaborate sacrificial system.

There were the daily national "morning and evening sacrifices." offered by the priests on behalf of the entire Hebrew nation. There were special sacrifices on annual national "holy days" (holidays) which revolved around the seven annual Hebrew festivals. And then there were sacrifices offered by individuals during specific times of need (e.g., "leprosy") as well as after committing specific sins

But there was one special sacrifice offered by the High Priest which was not daily, nor even annual. It was offered whenever the ashes of the previous sacrifice had been depleted through cleansing ceremonies.

This special offering is called the Red Heifer sacrifice.

A heifer is a young female cow which has never given birth to a calf.  A red heifer is an anomaly. Most cows don't have a skin color that is red. The Old Testament Hebrews specifically bred red heifers for this particular sacrifice.

Instructions for the special kind of red heifer to be sacrificed are given in Numbers 19. It was to be a red heifer in the prime of its life, "without blemish," and one that "has never been yoked" (Numbers 19:2).

The red heifer was to be taken "outside the city" (Numbers 19:3). It was to be slain and then "burned with fire" (Numbers 19:5). 

Then "the ashes of the red heifer" were to be gathered (Numbers 19:9). When an Israelite "dies in his tent" (Numbers 19:14) or when a living Israelite "touches a corpse" (Numbers 19:13), the tent and/or the living Israelite were to be deemed "unclean" for seven days (Numbers 19:11). 

A small portion of the ashes of the red heifer which had been sacrificed and burned was to be mixed in a basin filled with "flowing water" (Numbers 19:17), which means water from a living source such as a river or a spring.

Then a branch of hyssop, which is an aromatic herbal plant, would be dipped into the water mixed with the ashes. The ashes of the red heifer with living water would then be sprinkled on the unclean person or tent on both the third day and the seventh day of the week after contact with death.

After this seven-day process of cleansing, the Israelite would be pronounced "clean" and allowed into the assembly and the courtyard of the Temple. 
"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:7). 
If this ceremony of cleansing with the ashes of the red heifer was not performed on the unclean person, the Israelite would be "defile" the Lord and be "cut off from Israel" (Numbers 19:13).

The Ashes of the Red Heifer kept the nation of Israel clean before the Lord.

It was an important sacrifice.

During the entire Old Testament as well during the time between the Testaments (e.g., the intertestamental time period), there were only nine red heifers sacrificed by the priests of Israel.

Orthodox Jews today believe the Messiah is coming to reinstate the sacrifice of the red heifer by offering the tenth red heifer for Temple worship. Orthodox Jews are already breeding heifers to obtain the unusual red heifer line in preparation for the coming of the Messiah.

But I believe our Jewish friends have missed the symbolism of their own religion.

Jesus Christ is the true Red Heifer. He is the final Sacrifice.

Jesus the Anointed One "came to fulfill the Law" (Matthew 5:17-20).

The Red Heifer of the Old Covenant foreshadowed the Person and work of Jesus Christ.

Jesus died "outside the city" (Hebrews 13:12). It seems quite probable that Jesus died in the exact spot the Red Heifer was sacrificed because the High Priest could see directly into the Temple from the offering site. The centurion soldier at the crucifixion saw the curtain in the Temple torn (see Matthew 27:54).

In Jesus day, there was a bridge that went across the Kidron Valley that connected the Mt. of Olives with the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem. It was called by the Jews the Red Heifer bridge. on the Mount of Olives is where the Red Heifer ritual took place.

It's also most likely where Jesus died to cleanse God's people.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the traditional Roman Catholic site where Jesus was crucified is west of the Temple grounds, making it impossible for the Centurian to see the Temple curtain being torn. In addition, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher that Emperor Constantine's mother had built in the 4th century was inside the city of Jerusalem, not outside the city walls.

Jesus died in the prime of His life (age 33).

Jesus was "without fault or blemish" (I Peter 1:19John 1:47).

Jesus died that those "unclean" before God might "washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ"  (I Corinthians 6:11II Corinthians 5:21).

Hyssop throughout Scripture is an emblem of faith.

"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31).

We live in a day when the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ is often mocked and ridiculed. 

But it seems to me if a person wishes to be pronounced "clean" before the Creator, then one must embrace Jesus as a gift from God (John 3:16) who fulfills the Law for us.

Jesus came to cleanse sinners (Matthew 1:21).

The Apostle Paul wrote:
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16). 
Paul was not ashamed of the Good News. He never would have said that had there not been some people ashamed of the gospel in his day. 

And in ours.

There is something in the Good News of Jesus Christ that causes people to shrink back in embarrassment and shame. 

What is it about Christianity that causes people to be offended?

The world isn't offended by our worship buildings.

People definitely aren't offended by the good things  Christian organizations do to help the poor.

The world, in general, isn't embarrassed by anything truly Christian, except for one thing.

Blood sacrifice.

Specifically, people seem offended by the truth that Jesus came to shed His blood for sinners, to make sinners who trust Him clean before God.

To believe that God planned from the beginning to give His Son to die, shedding His own blood for the remission of our sins, invites ridicule from others.

The Gospel is offensive.

I don't get it.

Songwriter Andre Crouch wrote a song that describes how I feel:
The blood that Jesus shed for me
Way back on Calvary
The blood that gives me strength
From day to day
It will never lose its power.
It reaches to the highest mountain
It flows to the lowest valley
The blood that gives me strength
From day to day
It will never lose its power.
It soothes my doubts and calms my fears
And it dries all my tears
The blood that gives me strength
From day to day
It will never lose its power.
Peter ignored the offense and shame that Christ's death brings and declared at Pentecost:
"This Jesus, delivered by the determined plan and foreknowledge of God ... is raised up again, putting an end to the agony of death" (Acts 2:23-24). 
The Spirit used Peter's message to bring deliverance to 3,000 people from their bondage to sin and death as Peter proclaimed the truth of Christ's sacrifice for sinners (Acts 2:41). 

But when Stephen later took this same gospel message to the religious leaders they stoned him (Acts 7). 

People in their natural state, even refined religious people, do not wish to hear about the blood-shedding of Jesus Christ. 

We like our religions clean and neat. 

But the gospel teaches us that Jesus Christ died as our Red Heifer. 

God commanded the Hebrews in the Old Covenant to kill the red heifer in order to cleanse them of their defilement, but that ordinance was only a picture and foreshadowing of the Son of God whom the Father in His love for sinners sent for our cleansing (Matthew 1:21). 

The death Jesus died should have been the death we died. The fire that consumes all sin and wickedness, Jesus endured (Matthew 27:46). The death He died, He died for the cleansing and deliverance of sinners  (I Timothy 1:15).

For the prostitute. For the drug addict. For the liar. For the cheat. For the adulterer. For the prideful. For the blasphemer. For the self-righteous. For the bullies. For the selfish. For all sinners who destroy their lives with sin. For the blind who are leading the blind down the road of self-absorbed religiosity.

Jesus is the Red Heifer. 
"He (Jesus) who knew no sin, became sin for us" (II Corinthians 5:21
His blood will cleanse the sinner.

The blood of bulls and goats in the Old Covenant could not cleanse the sinner's conscience or put an end to sin that leads to death.

But the blood of Jesus Christ shed at Calvary does this and so much more. 

This is the reason for the celebration of the cross. 
 "For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9:13-14).
The message of the early apostles of Christ was clear:
"No one is justified by the Law before God, for 'the righteous person will live by faith.' The Law is not of faith; on the contrary, 'the one who practices the Law will live (and die) by the commandments.' But Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us--for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree--in order that in Christ Jesus the blessings of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Galatians 3:12-14). 
The early Hebrew Christians had been steeped in their 'ancestral traditions' of animal sacrifice (Galatians 1:14). 

After the resurrection of Christ, God's people were no longer required to offer the sacrifices.

 Animal sacrifice is over. 

The Righteous Judge had fulfilled the Law for us in His Son. God did not lay aside the Law of sin and death, but rather He fulfilled it in Jesus Christ so "He might be just and the justifier of those who believe in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).

The message of blood sacrifice is the message of the Gospel.

Jesus came to die. 

Christ's sacrifice brings an at-one-moment (atonement) between sinners and God. The Creator is good to sinners, but it is only because of Jesus' death and the sinners' faith in Christ. 

Jesus is the fulfillment of the red heifer sacrifice, and it is His blood that cleanses us. And it is this message of blood sacrifice which offends so many, but it is the only message that gives hope to the defiled. 

When you join your family in worship this weekend, you will not be bringing a lamb to be sacrificed, because God has provided the Lamb.

You will not be bringing a red heifer to the altar, for God has given the Red Heifer. 

You will not be shedding blood with your own hands, for God has shed His own blood for us. 

Turn your eye of faith toward the shed blood of Jesus Christ and believe what He has accomplished for sinners. Our conscience is cleansed because we rest in Christ. 

The promise of God's goodness for eternity is ours because we approach God through the merits and sacrifice of His Son. We rejoice in the Father's love because He gave us His Son. Jesus Christ has come, Jesus Christ has died, and Jesus Christ has risen from the grave. 

This is the gospel. 

It may offend some, but the truth of this message draws from us our worship of God. It may be ridiculed by some, but it is adored by us. It may cause some shame, but we echo the words of the Apostle Paul:
 "We are not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes." (Romans 1:16).

83 comments:

Wade Burleson said...

I am out of the country and unable to respond to questions! Hope you enjoyed the article and it leads to further research for yourself.

Christiane said...

" We rejoice in the Father's love because He gave us His Son. Jesus Christ has come, Jesus Christ has died, and Jesus Christ has risen from the grave.
This is the gospel."

Amen. The Creator Lord has opened His Hand . . .

from Brueggemann’s ‘On Generosity’,
this excerpt:

” . . . in the midst of our perceived deficit
You come
You come giving bread in the wilderness
You come giving children at the 11th hour
You come giving homes to exiles
You come giving futures to the shut down
You come giving easter joy to the dead
You come – fleshed in Jesus.

and we watch while
the blind receive their sight
the lame walk
the lepers are cleansed
the deaf hear
the dead are raised
the poor dance and sing

we watch
and we take food we did not grow and
life we did not invent and
future that is gift and gift and gift and
families and neighbours who sustain us
when we did not deserve it.

It dawns on us – late rather than soon-
that You “give food in due season
You open Your Hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

By Your giving, break our cycles of imagined scarcity
override our presumed deficits
quiet our anxieties of lack
transform our perceptual field to see
the abundance………mercy upon mercy
blessing upon blessing. . . ."

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Dear Friend, I hope you take my comments as constructive criticism.

Starting with the title, I’m sure you meant to say, ‘Jesus Most Likely Died on the Mount of Olives” instead of saying “Died” twice.

You said, “The centurion soldier at the crucifixion saw the curtain in the Temple torn. (see Matthew 27:54)

That Scripture states: “The Roman officer and other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and ALL THAT HAD HAPPENED. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!” (NLT)

IF they saw “ALL THAT HAD HAPPENED”, they would have seen “…tombs opened…bodies…were raise from the dead…went into…Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.” (Matthew 27:52-53 NLT)

Wade, they could not have see those people could they? Also the Scripture doesn’t say the soldiers saw, “…the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom…” (Matthew 27:51 NLT)

You state, “Jesus was without fault or blemish” (1 Peter 1:19: John 1:47) But John 1:47 states: “…Now here is a genuine son of Israel…” (NLT)

You said, “The world, in general, isn’t embarrassed by anything truly Christian, except of one thing. Blood sacrifice.”

Do you get that conclusion from Jesus saying? “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.” (John 15:18 NLT)

You wrote: “The death Jesus died should have been the death we died. The fire that consumes all sin and wickedness, Jesus endured (Matthew 27:46).”

That’s true, but the Scripture reference you gave states: “…My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (NLT)

A better reference would be, “You will not leave my soul in hell…” (Acts 2:27 Living)

Rex Ray said...

Anyone,

If Jesus did NOT take our punishment that is due to us, then we would STILL have to bear that punishment. Right?

Without Jesus, ALL are going to hell. Right?

The author of Acts is Luke. Right?

All Bible translations do NOT say the exact same thing. Right?

The Bible translations of King James, American King James, Basic English, Webster’s Revision, and Living say in Acts 2:27, “You [God] will not leave my soul in hell…”.

They also say in Acts 2:31, (the Living translation speaks clearer in English) “David was looking far into the future and predicting the Messiah’s resurrection, and saying that the Messiah’s soul would not be left in hell…”

We cringe with the thought of the suffering Jesus felt on the Cross, but the pain of hell cannot be described.

Christiane said...

Good Morning, REX RAY

you ask good questions but I'm afraid my responses might not 'translate' so well as to be meaningful because I come from another 'branch of the family' so to speak;
but I do know this:

You CAN TRUST in Jesus Christ to save you and care for you eternally; He will watch over you in this life and forevermore, and He will protect you from evil.

So the Gospel is 'good news'. This is the Word of the Lord as told to us by the sacred Scriptures in the Holy Gospel of St. John 16:33, this:

""These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."

So fear not. Be encouraged, old friend.

By all means, ask those important questions, and seek good answers from wiser persons than myself;
but in the meantime, remember the promise found in the writings of the prophet Micah:

"He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
(Micah 6:8)

When I get overwhelmed by the depth of my own lack of understanding, I am able to still sincerely pray these words: "I trust in You, Jesus Christ"

and it helps me . . . it ALWAYS helps :)

Ken F said...

"If Jesus did NOT take our punishment that is due to us, then we would STILL have to bear that punishment. Right?"

I recommmend you look for other historical ways of viewing the atonement. The internet is full of excellent resources. A good starting point would be to search for the Eastern Orthodox perspective on both hell and penal substitution (not they they are necessarily right, but because their view is both old and different). Also look for NT Wright's perspective.

Viewing hell as a punishment that must be paid has not been the majority opinion throughout Christian history. It also leaves us with the problem: if the punishment for sin is eternal separation from God, why is Jesus not eternally separated from God? Did he change his mind, or is there more to the story than just a balancing of the legal books?

Christiane said...

Hello Ken F.

It is possible that some people who see Christ as 'the Son of God' may not also view Him in the traditional sense as 'the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, God';
in which case I think it might be difficult for them to find meaning in the way the beautiful Eastern Orthodox theology of the Incarnation views 'how Christ saves'.
I may be wrong about this, so it's just a thought.



Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Thanks, old friend. You’ve chosen a good verse that quotes Jesus giving us encouragement.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:32 NLT)

The verse above this verse tells that God never revealed to his Son at Calvary the pain he would suffer most on the cross:

“But the time is coming-indeed it is here now-when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me along. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.” (John 16:31 NLT)

His last loud cry was:
“Then Jesus shouted out AGAIN, and released his spirit.” (Matthew 27:50 NLT)
“Then Jesus uttered ANOTHER loud cry and breathed his last.” (Mark 15:37 NLT)
“Then Jesus SHOUTED, “Father I entrust my spirit into your hands”. And with these words he breathed his last.” (Luke 23:46 NLT)

His first LOUD CRY was: “…My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 NLT)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifixion

States it may take several days for people to die on a cross. Why did Jesus die in six hours?

“…they saw he was already dead…pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out.” (John 19:34 NLT)

I believe under extreme pain, blood can turn to water.

Victorious said...

The verse above this verse tells that God never revealed to his Son at Calvary the pain he would suffer most on the cross:

Hi Rex Ray,

Just wondering....are you believing in a hierarchy within the Trinity?

Ken F said...

"It is possible that some people who see Christ as 'the Son of God' may not also view Him in the traditional sense as 'the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, God'"
I don't know what you mean by this. Are you saying there are forms of Christianity that believe Jesus, as son of God, is not the 2nd person of the Trinity? If so, can you point me to some info that I can investigate? Thanks.

Christiane said...

Hello Ken F.

well, I suppose my meaning was cryptic in a way, but I did write pretty much what I intended to, in that, among evangelical people, there is much more of a variety of theological views that is commonly realized;
and I am at peace with this, and have learned to respect that diversity as something precious and meaningful to the various Christian communities.

If, in a case where Our Lord is mentioned as 'the Son of God' and also the Father is mentioned as 'God', and there is no formal liturgical affirmation of the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity;
then
you must see that these evangelical people are taking their views of God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son of God, from the Bible itself;
and are not as cognizant or as comfortable with the traditional teachings of the early Councils of the Church extant the Bible itself.
So, it may be a question of their 'staying in the Word' as some call it, when focusing on ways to speak of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It may be more of a linguistic issue, but it does 'jar' a bit when you realize that you cannot assume an easy familiarity in such cases where the traditional doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not verbalized or understood as such.

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Jesus Christ IS God-in-the second Person of the Holy Trinity and in the Incarnation, He took our humanity to Himself when He assumed our humanity and became fully man and fully God. (I think this is best explained in the writings of the Cappadocian Fathers)

My meaning was that when people are not as conversant with the concept of the Holy Trinity which was 'clarified' by the early Councils, it may be more difficult for them to comprehend what is known traditionally about the mystery of the Incarnation and how it is important to our salvation in many more ways that just 'providing a body' for the crucifixion. But I don't for a minute think that there aren't many evangelical scholars who DO understand the work of the Councils that fought against the early Christian heresies and, in so doing, were careful to bring into focu 'Who Christ Was' and 'The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity'. These evangelical scholars are as knowledgeable about those early Councils as any of our traditional Catholic and Orthodox scholars, yes.

But IF we are to try to understand or to suggest help for others in hopes of providing some understanding,
I think it is important to know that for a very many Christian communities, the sacred Scriptures ARE the 'catechism' for them, and their language of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit may not reflect the language of people raised in the more formal ancient traditions where liturgy and prayers reflect so much of the theologies from the time of the Councils.

Does this make sense? I hope so. (When I try to explain, I regretfully often make matters worse, I know, so sorry if I have made the waters muddier as you had asked a very reasonable question)


(I've had to discover much for myself the hard way not to 'assume' that people from traditions other than my own can easily find their way through the maze of doctrines and phrases that to me are second-nature.
I've come to respect people of other Christian traditions from where they are at and to see the diversity and the wisdom that they can bring to the table as contribution to help build up understanding in the Body of Christ in the collegial sense that is so needed.)

Rex Ray said...

Ken F,

You asked, “If the punishment for sin is eternal separation from God, why is Jesus not eternally separated from God?

That’s a very human question, but aren’t we glad that God said,

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts…and my ways are far beyond anything you can imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT)

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray, do you view Scripture as saying that Jesus suffered in hell between his death and resurrection? Thanks.

RB Kuter said...

Christiane, do you not think that Scripture portrays the trinity concept?

Ken F said...

I was just curious because I've never heard of a mainline protestant denomination which teaches Jesus is not the 2nd person of the Trinity. Those groups which deny his divinity also deny the Trinity, in my experience.

Ken F said...

Can't one can use that verse to support or undermine any viewpoint? I personally have not found anything in the Bible saying Jesus paid the penalty of eternal separation for us. If this was what the atonement was about (paying the penalty for us) it would seem that the Bible should say so.

Rex Ray said...

RB,

If Jesus did NOT take our punishment that is due to us, then we would STILL have to bear that punishment. Without Jesus, ALL are going to hell.

All Bible translations do NOT say the exact same thing. The Bible translations of King James, American King James, Basic English, Webster’s Revision, and Living say in Acts 2:27, “You [God] will not leave my soul in hell…”.

They also say in Acts 2:31, (the Living translation speaks clearer in English) “David was looking far into the future and predicting the Messiah’s resurrection, and saying that the Messiah’s soul would not be left in hell…”

We cringe with the thought of the suffering Jesus felt on the Cross, but it makes us want to cry when we think of the pain Jesus felt in hell. Oh, how God loves us.


Ken F,

You complain that there’s nothing in the Bible that Jesus paid the penalty of eternal separation for us. Do you not understand John 3:16?

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (NLT)

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV)

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (Holman)

Ken F said...

I apologize if I miscommunicated. I used to believe what you stated until I started diving into church history a few years ago. It turns out that your view was invented during the reformation, which is why I suggested you look at some older views as a way to approach your question drom a different direction. While it is true that Jesus died for our sins according to the scriptures, the "how" of that sacrifice has had various explanations over the years, with penal substitution being a very late addition. Here is a good example of a different way of looking at it: https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/Ask-NT-Wright-Anything/Videos2/Do-you-believe-in-penal-substitution-Ask-NT-Wright-Anything. NT Wright addresses John 3:16 in his answer. I hope this helps.

Christiane said...

Hello Mr. Kuter

yes, I do believe that the sacred Scriptures provide us with insight into the unfathomable mystery of the Holy Trinity

I also know that the early Church was beset by much confusion concerning 'Who Christ Was' and the nature of 'The Holy Trinity';
and from this confusion emerged two developments:

first, the early Christian heresies

and
second, the calling of the early Church Councils to address and respond to those heresies

Mr. Kuter,
If someone is raised in a 'bible-believing' Church with no ties to such things as the early Creeds or 'doctrines' that were formed by the early Church Councils (extant the Bible);
then it is possible that the understanding of a trinitarian God may be based solely on what is found in sacred Scripture and not as a result of the work of the Councils that dealt with the early heresies. Problem: the ways of 'wording' 'Who Christ Is' may be spoken in different ways.

When people who come from fundamentalist evangelical 'bible-based' theological understandings communicate with people from more mainline Christian traditions, it helps to not assume that the understanding of 'Who Christ Is' will be worded in the same ways,
which can lead to mis-understandings.

I've read Ken F.' writings on the Incarnation over at Wartburg Watch and they are magnificent in their clarity,
so I know he can explain his viewpoint well.

I was just pointing out that there is a vast area of linguistic diversity used to describe 'Who Christ Is' between fundamentalist-evangelical traditions and those Christian traditions which are creedal and have roots in the early Church Councils beyond the Jerusalem Council which is mentioned in sacred Scripture.

If I made things less clear, that wasn't my intention. Nor was it my intention to discourage Ken F. . . .

Example of somethings I've run into through my own experience:
in the question of the Divinity of Christ, there are some who will tell you that Christ is not God, He is the 'Son of God'......
and in the question of 'Who died on the Cross', answers may vary greatly depending on whether or not a person's tradition has clarified that Jesus was a Person with two natures, one Divine, one human, and that Jesus Christ the Person died on the Cross, not just His human nature.

So you can see how differently people CAN view Our Lord, depending on their own history of faith communities

None of us can fathom the great mysteries, but we can attempt to listen to one another and to try to understand one another;
but it HELPS to appreciate where a person is coming from in their background rather than assuming where they are at.

Sorry if I've been unclear.
Sorry.

Christiane said...

Hello Ken F.

we just posted at about the same time :)

I am a fan of your description of the theology of the Incarnation in its salvific role, and I am also a devotee of the Cappadocian Fathers who worked so hard to provide insight into the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity

I was trying to say that, as a Catholic whose grandmother was Baptist, I realize that there is a 'gap' of how people communicate that sometimes is not realized, and that makes it seem more like people are in disagreement than what is really true: that they EMPHASIZE different things. So I've been on a journey and I was trying to share something of my own experiences with the different points of emphases and how they are worded.

Your work on the Incarnation is memorable. I'm a fan. But I'm also of a creedal tradition and I understood what was being explained from that advantage. Not all of our Christian friends have that same situation, so a 'heads up' was well-intentioned, if poorly explained on my part. Please forgive my lack of clarity.

Ken F said...

Thanks for your vote of confidence,but my work on this is really no more than repeating what others have said. I have also come to greatly respect early creeds because they serve as guard rails while also allowing a lot of room for differing opinions. The currently living people who are having the most impact on me right now include Baxter Kruger (former Calvinist), Brad Jersak (Eastern Orthodox), Richard Rohr (Roman Catholic priest), and NT Wright (Anglican bishop). I too have found treasure in the ancients - my only problem is they were such prolific writers that it makes it tough to know where to start and what to read next. It's been a fascinating journey. And you helped me along the way.

Christiane said...

Hello Ken F.

thank you for your kind comment, and for the lead to Brad Jersak who is the only reference with which I was not familiar, so if you have named him, I will most certainly look him up

thanks again, and have a blessed Lord's Day

Rex Ray said...

Ken F,

You said, “…it makes it tough to know where to start and what to read next.”

How about reading the Bible until you understand what John 3:16 means.

Ken F said...

That was not a gracious reply. I was responding to one of your questions directed to "Anybody" - "If Jesus did NOT take our punishment that is due to us, then we would STILL have to bear that punishment. Right?"

I had assumed it was an honest question. But based on your terse replies to me I can only conclude that you are not interested in actual dialogue. I wish you well.

Rex Ray said...

Ken F,

I notice everyone address you by your name, but you never return the curtesy. Why is that?

You said, “I personally have not found anything in the Bible saying Jesus paid the penalty of eternal separation for us. If this was what the atonement was about (paying the penalty for us) it would seem that the Bible should say so.”

I pointed out that John 3:16 does say that Jesus paid the penalty of eternal separation for us, but that verse seems to go in one of your ears and out the other.

Would you tell me in your own words what John 3:16 means to you?

I’ve very much interested in dialogue with you.

Tom said...

Hello Rex, up to your old tricks again with commenters on Wades Blog.

Now I have never seen an earthquake but have been able to see the outcome/manifestations of the earth shaking. Generally, we feel the ground shaking through the transmission of waves through the solid earth resulting from a rapid movement of a locked-up dislocation deep within the earth letting go. The displacement deep underground is the locked-up strain letting go due to the built-up stress around that locked up dislocation in the earth's crust. What is recorded in Matthew’s account is that the Centurion saw the turmoil in the city during the crucifixion of Christ. The soldiers guarding the tomb experienced great turmoil when they saw an angel of the Lord descend to roll away the stone across the tomb's entrance.

I see that you have also brought out the old faithful verse John 3:16 as if it is the only verse worthy of consideration in the salvation account of Christ's ministry here on the face of the earth.

Rex, Ken has been respectful of all in his comments, but you have found fault with him because he did not address you by name. That is your convention and one that is not always followed.

Ken let me apologise,as a person who frequents this blog and does comment from time to time. Rex is not always a respecter of other people and their views in the comments on this blog. He has his axes to grind like many people do, often not even on topic. He likes to keep repeating his stories of what he has done over the years, which do not always have relevance to the blog which the comments are attached too.

When the ball is not over the plate, we can let it go through to the catcher and not get caught out by him and give him a reason to keep posting comments. Hopefully, he will not see the need to comment on this comment.

Shalom

RB Kuter said...

Ken F. says, " I personally have not found anything in the Bible saying Jesus paid the penalty of eternal separation for us. If this was what the atonement was about (paying the penalty for us) it would seem that the Bible should say so." p

Ken, perhaps this is what you're searching for:
2 Corinthians 5:18-19: Now all [these] things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and 9 He has 10 committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Isaiah 53: All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.

There are many other passages including quotes by Jesus Himself defining this as His basic purpose for leaving the heavenly realm, limiting Himself as a man, and dying on the cross. So either you are joking us, in denial or something else.

Ken F said...

Christiane,
Thanks for your kind words and insight. I have loosely followed tis blog foe a while but am new to commenting on it. I was unaware of any spoken or unspoken expectations to use personal salutations in each reply. It sounds like it's not a bug deal except for those who want to be picky. Blogs can be challenging places to communicate because there are no non-verbal cues to provide context. Perhaps I come across as too blunt.

Ken F said...

RB,
I'm not joking or in denial. I was taught penal substitution and unquestionably believed it for more than 30 years. It was only in the last few years where I discovered it was invented in the reformation and only a very slim minority of Christians have ever believed it. But I need to caveat that there are nuances in penal substitution that can make it difficult to pin down. The version I don't believe in anymore is the one that says an infinite punishment is required to atone for sin, that God cannot forgive sin without first punishing someone because he cannot compromise his holy justice, and that he is too holy to look on sin so he has to turn away (forsake/abandon) Jesus on the cross. This is the version that has no direct biblical or historical support.

The verse you cite is interesting because it actually disproves the part about God forsaking Jesus because it says that God was in Christ, not turned away from Christ, when the atonement was happening.

Denying penal substitution does not mean denying the problem of sin, our need for salvation, or the need for Jesus's sacrifice. Instead, it is a turn toward older views on the atonement.

Did you have opportunity to view the NT Wright interview I referenced above? He claims to support penal substitution, but he very definitely rejects the version of it that I described above. Also, if you do a search on "eastern orthodox penal substitution" or "roman catholic penal substitution" you will find alternative ways of viewing the atonement that are quite biblical.

I also have to add that it was a huge shift for me to end up denying what I had been taught, but I had to follow what I found the Bible actually describing. In the end, I don't believe that what one believes about penal substitution will affect one's salvation. But it will affect one's view of God. I hope thia is helpful.

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray, I am not saying that I am right or you are wrong about Jesus going to suffer in hell following His crucifixion and prior to His resurrection. I am saying that I do not see any convincing supportive Scripture passages clearly explaining that.

I DO believe that Jesus went to hell, given that Scripture specifically and clearly (in my estimation) says that. 1 Peter 3:18 "For Christ also died for sins once for all, [the] just for [the] unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits [now] in prison 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through [the] water."

(P.S. This is yet another passage answering Ken F.'s confusion that state that Christ paid the sin debts for all those following Him.)

So I believe that Jesus was indeed busy doing Kingdom work between His death and resurrection which included His proclamation of His victory over death and Satan's attempt to sabotage God's plan for the redemption of man, even to those lost souls in hell. (Which I believe models for us that we too will be involved in Kingdom work during the time between death and our resurrection; contrary to Wade's position that we will be "sleeping" during that time.)

But I believe Jesus when Scripture says in John 19:30 "When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit."

I believe this was the announcement that the price had been paid. I believe that this along with His saying, "My God, why have you forsaken me" was the announcement that the prophecy of our redemptive lamb of sacrifice had been FULL-filled.

I tend, like you, to go with the most direct, literal presentation of The Word. I recognize there are other passages which may, in what seems to me, to ambiguously propose, other options, but I prefer to go with what is more literal.

That being the case, I personally do not believe that Christ suffered in hell, even though He did sound the proclamation which must have only added to the misery of those souls that had rejected God in this world; part of God's judgment rendered. (Phil 2:10 "that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and UNDER the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Ken F said...

Rex,
Can you help me to understand how you see John 3:16 supporting the view that God has to punish before he can forgive? I honestly cannot see how that verse supports your point. I have read tons of info both supporting and opposing penal substitution and have never found anyone using that verse to support it. It says nothing about punishment or paying a penalty. The only word in that verse that could be used to support your view is the word gave, but there are a lot of ways that word could be understood. I have heard penal substitution opponents say that penal substitution has the effect of twisting that verse to say, "For God so hated the world he killed his only begotten son..."

RB Kuter said...

Christiane, I am not sure, but think, that we are on the same page. My position on the "trinity" concept is:
1. The third person of the Trinity might more accurately be referred to as "The Word" of God, who became flesh, hence, identified as the "Son of God, Jesus Christ".
2. Simultaneously, the Holy Spirit of God was still active and working in His divine identity such as when anointing Jesus, the Son of God, at the commissioning/baptism of His earthly ministry.
3. And, simultaneously also, God the Father was active as the God of the universe accessible to The Son who had conversations with Him as He performed His earthly mission of redemptive work for you and me.

Not so sure why this would be terrifically difficult for people to accept or to believe possible for God to do, although indeed impossible for us to relate to in its entirety or its infinite, divine mystery.

RB Kuter said...

Ken F., thanks for attempting to clarify your position. It is interesting how we both can view the very same Scripture passage and come to very different conclusions.

I do believe that we have a difference in our views. I take those verses in which I referred, quite literally and assess them as saying;
- The consequences of man's sin is so monumental in comparison to God's holiness as to require the most ultimate sacrifice to be paid to reconcile that sin debt that is imaginable.
- All people are judged condemned in their sin. It is a violation of such a degree as to justify a righteous God sentencing them to eternal damnation and separation from His life and light.
- The price that God Himself paid as a means to provide a means for man to be reconciled to God and be considered as having "debt paid" is of such value so as to not have any alternative that even comes close to serving as an alternative.

Of course, you are welcome to come to any conclusion you prefer, but I fear you may be flirting with some that might serve to distort or dilute the extremities of these features as I see portrayed in The Word of God.

RB Kuter said...

Ken F, just viewed NT Wright's video. He says, "He (God) condemned sin in the flesh. There is no condemnation for us because God passed the sentence of condemnation on sin/Paul doesn't say that God condemned Jesus, but that God condemned sin in the flesh of Jesus. God used the Law to lure sin onto one place, namely, to Israel's representative, and the world's representative, so Jesus dies as the representative substitute taking the condemnation upon Himself so sin itself is condemned so that new life can begin."

My response is, "Well....duh!" Isn't that what we've been saying here? What are we debating? Wright seems to attempt to propose some distorted version of this calling it "penal substitution" saying that some twisted thinkers say, "God hated the world so much that He took a stick to His Son to make them pay!", or something like that.

I don't see anything revelational about Wright's proposition. I do cringe a bit when he begins to talk about the writers of the New Testament as being somewhat confused or contradictory in their explanation regarding the crucifixion and its meaning and intent. But I would have to re-play the video on that portion to assess what Wright is trying to say on that matter. Maybe some other time.

Anyway, thanks for introducing the matter for discussion.

Rex Ray said...

Tom,

Are you forgetting your name is Tom Ross? If you don’t want people to know you’re a Jew, you should stop ending your comments with “Shalom”.

By your comments, I believe Ken F. will see I’m not one of your fans.

You say you hope I won’t reply to your comment.

Not a chance. :)

My last comment to you was on 3-29-19, where I said, “It looks like you want to quit a ‘winner’ without any reply. That’s not the way Wade’s blog works. It seems you don’t understand that Abraham’s descendants went out the window as Jesus explained in his parable of the “wedding feast”. I’ll just add the words of the revelation that Bob Cleveland made many years ago: “It’s the bit dog that hollers.”



RB Ruter,

As always, I enjoy your comments.

RB Kuter said...

I sure enjoy yours too, RR.

Sounds like you and Tom have a special relationship! Don't know his age, but maybe Tom sees you as a "Father" image!

Ken F said...

RB,
I tried to respond this morning but phine gave me trouble and deletes what I wrote. I'll try a short reply now and maybe tonight I can go into more detail. Basically, there is a spectrum on penal substitution, with NT Wright being so far on one extreme that he barely believes in it. The other extreme is illustrated by RC Sproul here: https://www.ligonier.org/blog/forsaken-jesus-became-curse/. Sproul's view of it really just a caricature with extremely thin (at best) biblical support. The problem is all of the leading New Calvinists have fully bought into that view.

The biblical problems include: the bible does not that God is too holy to look on sin, the bible does not say that God's wrath must be or can be satisfied, the bible does not say that God must first fully punish sin before he can forgive it, the bible does not that God forsook Jesus on the cross, and the bible does not say that Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. If one starts from the penal substitution viewpointone can ind verses that appear to prove it. But on closer examination, those same verses can also be used to disprove it.

That's all the time I have for now. I can write more tonight.

Christiane said...

Just a note to Mr. Kuter

re: the Holy Trinity,
as it is often said, if you want to know what beliefs a community of faith cherish, listen to their ancient and most treasured hymns:

The oldest hymn in Christendom is called the 'Trisagion' and it celebrates the Triune God.
It is based on the prophet Isaiah's words.
"According to the Prophet Isaiah, this hymn is sung by the angels :
"I saw the Lord setting on a throne...Above it stood seraphim...And one called to another and said:
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts[sabaoth]; the while earth is full of His glory!" (Isaiah 6:1-5)"


Here is an Eastern Christian version:
https://youtu.be/eHi-1taeqeo

And this is a Western Christian version:
https://youtu.be/AXrCD5KNLxQ

There is also this beautiful Protestant hymn that conveys the same reverence for the Triune God, this:
https://youtu.be/j5MEoJZo38M

Tom said...

Thanks, Rex, you are like a big bull terrier with a big bone to chew on.

Your post only confirms what I have already come to understand about you and your pet hates.

You must be getting real bored with this blog.

Shalom

Tom said...

RB

LOL

Nar, I see RR more as an old F.A.R.T. who loves the sound of his own thoughts as he is seen frequently arguing ridiculous/religious tripe.

For example, I am a Jew because I like to end my comment with the word "Shalom." That is a ridiculous assumption to make on anyone's part.

Shalom

RB Kuter said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ken F. I don't think you intended to say that the Bible has problems", but instead, that you disagree with the positions some people have as to what the Bible says about these issues. I suspect that we are much closer to agreeing on most of these ideas than not. These are just not issues to which I am interested in investing a lot of time investigating, but always am interested in learning some new propositions of some academics, so thanks for that.

RB Kuter said...

Tom, are you alright? You seem to think I have written some things which I did not, i.e., "shalom"=Jewish? Not sure where that comes from but not from me.

In terms of being an old F.A.R.T, not sure what the acronym stands for, but I am old and certainly do enjoy saying what I say, or write, except in some cases when I may not reflect upon something as much as I should prior to putting in out there and then regretting it.

"Ridiculous/religious tripe"? Can't think of ever writing anything like that.

Get well quick.

Tom said...

RB

No I am not sick. What I had said was that Rex, bless his heart, believes that because I sign off my comments with Shalom, that I am from a Jewish heritage which is as far from the truth as you can get.

I also suggested that Rex, i.e. RR was an old FART, i.e. Frequently Arguing Religious Tripe, and as such I do not consider him to be a father figure.

At no time did I intentionally attribute either of the above to you.

I apologies if my words seemed to suggest that to you.

Shalom

Ken F said...

RB,
Yes, exactly. I doubt the interpretations from some tribes of Christians, but I don't doubt the bible. Here are just a few examples.

We are told that God is too pure to look on evil, which is why he had to forsake Jesus on the cross. The proof text is Hab 1:13. But in context, that verse is a complaint that God is too good to look on evil but does it anyway. So in context, that verse says the opposite of what we are told. That interpretation also creates a conflict with Jesus's divinity since Jesus spent quite a lot of time with sinners. If looking on sinners is something that God cannot do then how could Jesus? Jesus also said he only did what he saw the father doing, which means the father does not turn his face away from sinners. Finally, God sought Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden after they sinned. If God was too holy to look on evil he could not have been talking with Adam, Eve, and the serpent after the fall

Likewise with Psalm 22:1. In context, we get to verse 24, which states the opposite of verse 1. Like many Psalms, it starts from a lament about some kind of total disaster and finishes with praising God for his provision even when it seemed lacking. The context of Psalm 22 proves that God did not abandon or forsake Jesus on the cross.

The part about God's wrath needing to be satisfied turns God into one who repents. He goes from having a favorable disposition to humanity ("and it was very good"), to having an unfavorable disposition, and then favorable again based on a sacrifice (propitiate means to make favorable).

I could go on, but it think you get my point.

RB Kuter said...

Tom, sorry. Upon re-reading your response and seeing it addressed toward "RR" I better understand.

However, you would benefit from re-assessing your views on Rex Ray. We all have our quirks and I am one of the greatest possessors of them for sure, but Rex Ray really is a remarkable person. His experiences in life are totally amazing and he is a genius in his creative abilities and engineering feats. He is a "thinker" too and often goes outside the parameters of what is generally held to be orthodox. Like yourself.

I do admit I kind of enjoy watching you two go at it, though. So don't change, either of you.

Rex Ray said...

RB Kuter,

It seems you’ve been chosen to act as ‘referee’ between me and Tom Ross, or should I say “Tom” as he seems to have ‘lost’ his last name? Wonder why that is? Could it be he doesn’t want what he said in the past to be known?

Did you notice the clever way he said? “…Rex, bless his heart, believes that because I sign off my comments with Shalom, that I am from a Jewish heritage which is as far from the truth as you can get.”

Did that statement deny he was from a Jewish heritage? No; he simply said that ending a comment with “Shalom” didn’t mean a person was from a Jewish heritage.

On Wade’s post of March 28, 2019, he said at 03:53 AM , “I do not ask people about if they have been “saved” whatever that means.”

RB, I accept a Christian Jew as a brother, but not one that is not a Christian.

I told him, “If you ask Jesus to save you, he’s never turned anyone down.”
His reply was, “But the consequences of asking that question from a Hellenistic perspective has very severe consequents.”

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Tom said...

Rex have you become bored with this blog and it comments?

Do you need another scan.

For those who have not heard of a scan, it is simply referring to a Senior Citizen's Afternoon Nap.

Shalom

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray; Sorry if I presume to be the referee. I understand your frustration. Of course, you are correct in saying that anyone who is not a Jesus follower has not been born into the family of God. We still love them as God does and try to influence them toward making that decision. I know that your dialogue with Tom is an attempt to assure he has.

I do not know whether Tom is born again or not. When he says, “I do not ask people about if they have been “saved” whatever that means.”, I don't necessarily take that to mean he has not made the decision to follow Christ as Lord. It could be that he does not agree with some of our religious terminologies, like asking someone, "Are you saved?".

Which brings up a good point. I have to be cautious about the terms I use when talking to folks. I tend to use terms like being "saved" and even the term "repent" when "sharing the Gospel" (another terminology understood between us brothers but not those unfamiliar with it).

I was thinking of the term "repent" during our Bible study last Sunday when we were discussing it. Even if we explain to a lost (?) person that "repent" means to "turn from your sins and begin to live a Christian life", it could convey all kinds of misunderstandings. For instance, they could think we are saying that they must, "stop committing sin and never sin again."! So after this Sunday and considering that, I may try to come up with a different way of communicating and instead say that "'repent' means to abandon whatever we were trusting in to provide us spiritual security and rely totally on Jesus", or something like that.

Anyway, I "think" Tom likes to challenge us and his manner in doing that is not orthodox. He doesn't like getting backed into a corner. I "think" that, but he hasn't told me so I sure don't know and I'm not gonna ask!

Speaking of being a "Jew", it came to my realization that Rex Ray and I are the most authentic "Jews" that are alive, as defined by the Bible.

I love the passage Zechariah 8:23 that reads, "‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’”

I thought, "Oh, wonder why it says they will come to 'Jews' in 'those days'?"

Then I checked it out and found where the Bible says in Romans 2:29 "But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God."

Then I realized the term "Jew" is correctly interpreted as those who have been born again into the family of God! That means RR and RRR! Of course, there are those generic "Jews" who are not authentic in the respect of having a relationship with God as His children, just like there are those professing to be "Christians" who are as far away from God as any lost person.

Just blabbering, or as Tom would say, "Being an old F.A.R.T", which he said meant "Frequently Arguing Religious Tripe"!

Like I said in an earlier response, hope you and Tom stay at it because I enjoy your conversations!

Victorious said...

I may try to come up with a different way of communicating and instead say that "'repent' means to abandon whatever we were trusting in to provide us spiritual security and rely totally on Jesus", or something like that.

RB Kuter, I've been following this thread and felt I had nothing to add until I read your comment about the word repent. I've posted this before I think, but allow me to suggest a different way of communicating to a non-believer.

I never believed I was a sinner. I followed all the rules to the best of my ability. I treated others in a loving way and offered help when it was needed. But I was very sad; very lonely; and searching for a reason for living. I wondered if "that's all there is" as the song used to go. I read a prayer in the back of the book "The Cross and the Switchblade" not expecting anything to change. But it did! It changed my whole life!

Long story short....how about offering someone the greatest love and peace they've ever known or experienced? That's what I found and what I hope others see reflected in me. What would happen if you offered perfect peace and rest in the person of Jesus?

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Matt. 11:28

OK...back to the on-topic discussion.....excuse the interruption.

Christiane said...

Beautiful comment, Victorious

Christiane said...

That phrase 'born again' is beautiful,
I see it in these images:


"Deep is calling on Deep in the roar of waters;
Your torrents and waves have swept over me"
(Psalm 42)


and


“He reached from on high and took hold of me;
He drew me out of deep waters.”
(Psalm 18)

RB Kuter said...

Good word, Victorious. I am thankful that it is all dependent upon the voice of God's Holy Spirit interpreting whatever feeble attempt I make to explain His salvation to folks in a manner that is powerful and transforming.

Still, I need to continue to hone my methods to increase the chances of them being more effectively used by God. The most important thing is to keep trying to explain and being pro-active in initiating conversations related to eternal meanings. The great thing is that just about everyone that participates on Wade's site has this as a priority.

Rex Ray said...

RB Kuter,

You quoted Scripture how Paul described the true Jew.
I’d like to get ‘higher on the ladder’ and discuss how people can become the children of God, and not Jews.

“He came to his own people [Jews], and even they rejected him. But to all that believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become the children of God.” (John 1:11-12 NLT)

Every time I ask Tom a question, it seems to take a paragraph to get an answer. I don’t know if he has “yes” or “no” in his vocabulary.

Maybe if you ask if he’s a Christian, he could prove me wrong about that.

Victorious,
Your comment was like a breath of fresh air.

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray, I totally agree with your comment, "I’d like to get ‘higher on the ladder’ and discuss how people can become the children of God, and not Jews."

Of course, Christ blew the doors off of ethnicity as it relates in this world. That is the way I take Paul's portrayal of the definition of "Jew". I think he would say the same in respect of Italian, Asian, African, etc. Rom 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same [Lord] is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him"
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Tom said...

Rex

Why do you not report all of what I responded to you with.

When you quoted a verse from scripture demanding that I respond to it with an answer suitable to you, I responded with another verse that provided the answer of my understanding of what is required to be a Son of God/Saint. You wanted a “Yes” or “no” answer, and you missed what I had responded with.

This is how I responded to you.

Whatever my beliefs are with respect to my faith, my comments do not call for you to be condescending towards WHO I AM BECUASE OF WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN. What I was doing was presenting the facts that the contextual understanding of the scriptures within the various churches has been flawed for many years and has caused an affront to God's words and prophecies.

If you want me to only use the NT section of the Bible, then I will only have part of the whole story.

The Parable of the Judgement of the Nations Matt 25:31-46 is patterned on the requirements of Isaiah 58:6ff to be a recognised saint, where God promises that He will heal them, i.e. Israel: -

Isaiah 58:8-9: -
Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, 'Here I am.'

The same is true whether you are a Gentile or Israelite Saint. When we earnestly call out to the Lord we will be healed and made whole again.

In my case, how I am saved is between God and myself.

I do not ask people about if they have been "saved," whatever that means, or if they have had an epiphany experience during their individual encounter experience. That tends to lead to comparisons being made by the inquirer.

What I ask them is: - "What is your relationship like with the God that you are worshiping at this present time?” And then maybe, “What is your sense of the significance of that relationship with the God that you worship?"

I also posted the following as well in another comment:-

You said, “I do not ask people about if they have been “saved” whatever that means.”

If you were saved, you’d know what that means.

I said: - Being saved can be understood many ways by different people. Sadly, because of many Christians’ aggressive harassment of Israelites, many have rejected what the “Christians” present with respect to Matthew 13:52.

If you ask Jesus to save you, he’s never turned anyone down. But the consequences of asking that question from a Hellenistic perspective has very severe consequents.

Rex your aggressive righteous Christian attitude turned me off faster that Flash Gordon irrespective of what my statist with the lord is.


Shalom

Tom said...

RB

Thank you for your attempt to "referee" between REX and myself.

It was not my intention to put you in that position but your gentle approach was certainly appreciated on my part.

Sadly, our reference base is fallible and it reflects the poor theological understanding of theological scholars 400-500 years ago, which was also drawn from the Jewish understanding as well.

So much has happened since that time and we can now see that future prophetic verses were wrongly linked to wrong past events in an attempt to make sense of the various Prophecy in years past. We now need to break those links and establish an understanding more in line with God's.

Our flawed contextual short time span has meant that the Abrahamic Covenant is not well understood.

Jesus' death on the Thursday afternoon was to fulfil Dan 9:24b so that the redemption process for all would now rely on Christ's sacrifice on the Cross and that this change in the redemption process now heralds in the righteousness of the Saints who believe in Him Whom He has sent.

In looking backwards today we can see other fulfilments of God's prophetic words scattered throughout the OT and the NT.

God in entering into the Abrahamic Covenant wants to take the Saints on a journey to the place where they will inherit the whole earth, which is still in our distant future.

In our near future, the Saints found within the Nation of Israel will be redeemed to become a Kingdom of Priests, a Holy Nation and God's possession among the nations. The terms of Israel's redemption is between God and the nation of Israel who went away and will shortly return to His Father who has loved him since the very beginning.

May we all humble ourselves before the Lord and wonder at what He has and will be doing as His Glory is revealed to all of the world.

Shalom

Christiane said...

The glory of the Lord . . .

Early morning, I go out into the garden and am surrounded by roses and camellias and lilac bushes in full bloom, with the little finches flitting around the California deck flower pots which are elevated on the posts, and there are two doves walking together so near to me as to appear unafraid of my presence, which I will take as blessing. :)

I suppose to all of us we have our own understanding of what 'the glory of God' must be like. But for me, the awakening nature in spring brings an awareness of the Creator, so gently, so peacefully, yet so completely, that I am filled with gratitude to have been a witness. Something there 'is' about a garden . . . .



Rex Ray said...

Tom,

It has been said, “There is none so blind that those who refuse to see.”
Israel, Israel, Israel; that seems to be all you want to talk about.

In the comments you made to RB and me, you said seven things about Israel.
1.“The parable of the Judgment of Nations Matt 25:32-46…where God promises to heal them. i.e. Israel.”
2. “…Christians’ aggressive harassment of Israelites…”
3. “…reflects the poor theology understanding…drawn from the Jewish understand as well.”
4. “Our flawed contextual short timespan has meant the Abrahamic Covenant is not well understood.”
5. “In the near future, the saints found within the Nation of Israel will be redeemed to become a Kingdom of Priest…among the nations.”
6. The terms of Israel’s redemption is between God and the nation of Israel…”
7. “God in entering into the Abrahamic Covenant wants to take the Saints…where they will inherit the whole earth, which is still in our distant future.”

Tom, do you think the “Saints” will have the “whole earth” that Hitler failed to accomplish?

When I was 65 I swam across the Sea of Galilee at a point that was four miles. Wonder if that route was anywhere near where Jesus and Peter walked?

Well, Peter didn’t last long because he took his eyes off Jesus. That could happen to anyone that looked to Israel TOO much.

Ken F said...

RB,

I've been wondering if I should add something to what you wrote above ("That being the case, I personally do not believe that Christ suffered in hell"). Yours is a very old and widespread view that has been lost in many corners of the Western churches in the modern age. This sermon has been read in all Eastern churches every year for more than 1600 years. It’s best to read out loud. Enjoy: https://oca.org/fs/sermons/the-paschal-sermon

Tom said...

REX

You wrote, “It has been said, “There is none so blind that those who refuse to see.”” And I agree with you,

You wrote, ”Israel, Israel, Israel; that seems to be all you want to talk about.” And agree I agree with you.

You wrote, “In the comments you made to RB and me, you said seven things about Israel.
1.“The parable of the Judgment of Nations Matt 25:32-46…where God promises to heal them. i.e. Israel.””
Where sadly you have missed the whole point of what I had written. Matt 25:32-46 is not about healing Israel, it is all about the heart attitude of the people who call Jesus/God, “Lord,” and the judgement that they will receive.

You wrote, ”2. “…Christians’ aggressive harassment of Israelites…” And why did I make a reference to this fact? Because it is the number one complaint against Christians by Jewish people who want to save them their way. It is what I perceived in your interaction with me trying to save me. You wanted to talk at me, not with me, so that you created a barrier which was seemingly impossible to piece on my part with my responses.

You wrote, “3. “…reflects the poor theology understanding…drawn from the Jewish understand as well.”” Do you know why I am saying this? Do you understand that many scholars over the years have ended up at the wrong understanding of God’s salvation covenant and His Prophetic words? Many read their commentaries and accept them as if they are infallible.

You wrote, “4. “Our flawed contextual short timespan has meant the Abrahamic Covenant is not well understood.”” If you disagree with this statement, then please present your apology as to why I have erred in this statement.

You wrote, “5. “In the near future, the saints found within the Nation of Israel will be redeemed to become a Kingdom of Priest…among the nations.”” If you disagree with this statement, then please present your apology in response.

You wrote, “6. The terms of Israel’s redemption is between God and the nation of Israel…”” If you believe that you have a say in how God will redeem Israel and what His terms of peace should be, then please present your logic as to why you can tell God what he has to do in this situation of Israel’s redemption.

You wrote, “7. “God in entering into the Abrahamic Covenant wants to take the Saints…where they will inherit the whole earth, which is still in our distant future.”

Tom, do you think the “Saints” will have the “whole earth” that Hitler failed to accomplish?”


Yes, I do believe that the saints will inherit the whole earth. How do I know that this will happen? Because God said that that would be the eventual outcome for the Saints who are the Children of God at the end of the Age of the Ages.

You wrote, “When I was 65 I swam across the Sea of Galilee at a point that was four miles. Wonder if that route was anywhere near where Jesus and Peter walked?

Well, Peter didn’t last long because he took his eyes off Jesus. That could happen to anyone that looked to Israel TOO much.”


Sadly Rex, your understanding is leaving you floundering in the Lake of Galilee, instead of being immersed in the actual word of God, looking for a reason to discredit what God has promised to do for Israel. If as a saint, we are grafted into the same vine/tree, then the promises God has made to the righteous Israelites are also the same promises that God is making to those righteous Gentiles who are also grafted into Abraham’s descendants.

If this was not so, then He would have told us why it was not so.

Some believe that “Israel” is Jesus and it is in our immersed relationship with Him that enables us to inherit the promises of God from the beginning of time.

Shalom

Christiane said...

Hello out there, REX RAY

and Hello also to Ken F.


REX RAY, these prayers from the Eastern Orthodox may help explain a little bit why Ken F. does not believe that Our Lord went to hell 'to suffer'.
Take a look:

"“Troparion (Tone 4)
Be thou ready, Zabulon; prepare thyself, O Nephthalim. River Jordan, stay thy course and skip for gladness to receive the Sovereign Master, Who cometh now to be baptized. O Adam, be thou glad with our first mother, Eve; hide not as ye did of old in Paradise. Seeing you naked, He hath appeared now to clothe you in the first robe again.
Christ hath appeared, for He truly willeth to renew all creation.

Kontakion (Tone 4)
In the running waters of the Jordan River, on this day the Lord of all crieth to John:
Be not afraid and hesitate not to baptize Me,
for I am come to save Adam, the first-formed man.”

Ken F said...

Hi Christian,

Thanks for thinking of me. If I remember correctly, you were born and raised Roman Catholic, which would make it much easier for you to make the connection with those prayers and what Jesus did in hell. For someone like me who was born and raised Protestant, it's a much bigger mental shift. It took me awhile to overcome my shock when I learned of the Orthodox view of heaven and hell, for example. We Protestants are not taught about the "harrowing of hell" so we have a hard time trying to think of what the Apostle's Creed means when it says Jesus descended into hell. For me, I have found articles like this one from a former Protestant to be very helpful because they explain it from a perspective from which I can more easily connect: https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxbridge/evidence-christs-descent-hell/. In the end, I don't know which "side" is right or whether or not it even matters. But I do know that I have been greatly blessed my exposure to older ways of interpreting the Bible and Christian history.

RB Kuter said...

Ken F, thank you for providing those two resources related to Christ going to hell. I'm always seeking to grow in my understanding of Scripture. However, neither of these two resources provide anything new to my catalog of texts regarding this particular topic.

I do not disagree with the understanding that Jesus Christ did indeed go to hell between His crucifixion and resurrection. I believe Scripture and it specifically says that He did. When I see God's Word speaking clearly about a situation I believe it.

I do not believe that Jesus Christ went to hell to extend His suffering from the cross. Scripture does not say this and none of the references these two resources, or others, provide tell me that He did. Of course, He was not left in hell. He did not want to stay there so He performed His mission there and left. From what I know about God, He can do that. So that totally disqualifies that passage ("He will not leave me in hell") which says nothing about the Messiah suffering in hell as a portion of the penalty to be paid to ransom us from sin.

Jesus said when taking His final breaths in this worldly realm before His Spirit exited His body, "IT IS FINISHED." I don't know how He could more clearly state the fact. He did not say, "It WILL BE finished." He did not say, "It will be finished AS SOON AS I FINISH PAYING THE DEBT IN HELL." He said simply (I believe so as to help even slow learners like me understand) "It is FINISHED."

You mention in reference to my beliefs, Ken, "Yours is a very old and widespread view that has been lost in many corners of the Western churches in the modern age." Not certain what you mean by that and perhaps I misunderstand your intent. If I assess your statement correctly, you overestimate my being influenced by the teachings of the church in any age.

I certainly do learn and study doctrine as proposed by preachers, teachers, scholars, etc., but I don't believe I have ever adopted any teaching that I thought to be contrary to what "I" find in Scripture. I don't care how old, or popular, ANY traditional teaching is. To me, those factors do not qualify something as being the truth. Age and length of proclaiming a mistake as being true do not make it true. So, please do not seek to undermine my position by saying that it has, or has not been, around as long as some orthodox teachings that are hundreds of years old.

Speaking of "orthodox" church, quoting from that source CERTAINLY does not impress me. I was speaking to a nice lady this very night who was from Greece. She said she was now a born again Jesus follower after being a member of the Greek Orthodox church for decades. She said that having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord was never explained in the Orthodox church. During my trips to Ethiopia and discussions with others who are/have been members of various "Orthodox" churches, I find this to be typical and more likely to be the case. They often do not even want to hear that "all we need to have a relationship with God is faith in Christ".

Please do continue to make proposals on this issue and any others, but I will more likely be influenced when/if you can cite Scripture that more clearly defines the position.

Again, thanks for the dialogue.

RB Kuter said...

Ken and Christiane, I must surely be dim-witted. For the life of me, I can see no connection between the "prayers" proposed by Christiane as suggesting that Jesus suffered in hell. Maybe you could be patient and attempt to shine some light on how that is seen within the quoted message?

Christiane said...

Hello Mr. Kuter,

those prayers emphasize the mission of Our Lord, who is called 'The Saving Lord'.

In the traditions of the early Church is the concept of 'the harrowing of hell' and this is something that may not be recognized in evangelical circles. So if it doesn't ring a bell, it comes from an ancient 'tradition'

This may explain 'the harrowing of hell' best:

"https://oca.org/reflections/fr.-john-breck/a-paschal-triumph

Mr. Kuter, THANK YOU for the dialogue, and for giving me an opportunity to better understand what is meaningful to evangelical people. Please ask if more questions.

Christiane said...

From the ancient Easter sermon of Chrysostom:


The Lord's descent into hell

"What is happening?
Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.

Truly He goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; He wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, He who is God, and Adam's son.

The Lord goes in to them holding His victorious weapon, His cross.
When Adam, the first created man, sees Him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: 'My Lord be with you all.' And Christ in reply says to Adam: ‘And with your spirit.’ And grasping his hand He raises him up, saying:
‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.

‘I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison:
Come forth,
and those in darkness: Have light,
and those who sleep: Rise.

‘I command you:
Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of My Hands, arise, you who were fashioned in My image.
Rise, let us go hence; for you in Me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.

‘For you, I your God became your son; for you, I the Master took on your form; that of slave; for you, I who am above the heavens came on earth and under the earth; for you, man, I became as a man without help, free among the dead; for you, who left a garden, I was handed over to Jews from a garden and crucified in a garden.

‘Look at the spittle on My Face, which I received because of you, in order to restore you to that first divine in-breathing at creation. See the blows on My Cheeks, which I accepted in order to refashion your distorted form to My own image.

'See the scourging of My Back, which I accepted in order to disperse the load of your sins which was laid upon your back. See My Hands nailed to the tree for a good purpose, for you, who stretched out your hand to the tree for an evil one.

`I slept on the cross and a sword pierced My Side, for you, who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My Side healed the pain of your side; My sleep will release you from your sleep in Hades; My sword has checked the sword which was turned against you.

‘But arise, let us go hence.
The enemy brought you out of the land of paradise; I will reinstate you, no longer in paradise, but on the throne of heaven. I denied you the tree of life, which was a figure, but now I myself am united to you, I who am life. I posted the cherubim to guard you as they would slaves; now I make the cherubim worship you as they would God.

"The cherubim throne has been prepared, the bearers are ready and waiting, the bridal chamber is in order, the food is provided, the everlasting houses and rooms are in readiness; the treasures of good things have been opened; the Kingdom of Heaven has been prepared before the ages."

Ken F said...

RB,

Thanks for the feedback. I suspect we are not very far apart in our thinking. Like you, I don't want to cling to old mistakes. On the other hand, I don't want to chase after new mistakes either. The key issue is discerning mistakes, which can be very difficult if we don't recognize our biases. That said, I don't want to quickly dismiss things that have been widely believed among Christians over time and geography. At least not without understanding why those beliefs have been held for so long. Nor do I want to reject new beliefs just becauae they are new. I don't cite Orthodoxy as being true simply because it is old. Rather, I cite it because they often have a different way of seeing things. So when Protestants and Roman Catholics might be arguing whether something is A vs B, the Orthodox often say that they have always viewed it as Z. That different perspective often helps me to resolve various types of contradictions.

I also am careful to not reject a branch of Christianity just because some people here and there don't connect with Jesus there (lots of athiests started out as Christians, but that is not a reason to avoid Christianity). I have personally spent many hours talking with knowledgeable Roman Catholic and Orthodox clergy and lay people. I've asked them why they believe certain things and I've heard them make many compelling arguments from the bible. I have found the Orthodox to be particularly effective in using the bible to support their beliefs - they are at least as good, if not better, than any of the Protestant arguments I've heard. But my experience might not be representative.

The original reason I weighed in on this post was to respond to a question about the punishment Jesus took in our place. Evangelicals often talk about Jesus needing to be punished by God and forsaken by him to satisfy the wrath of God so that we don't have to be punished. In the last few years discovered this "forensic" view of the atonement is only a few hundred years old, and has only been believed by a small minority of Christians. A couple years ago the SBC passed a resolution that said denying penal aubstitution ia a denial of the gospel. If true, how did Christianity get it wrong for 1500 years?

There lots of old mistakes in Christianity that should be rejected. I think penal substitution in the form stated by most evangelicals is a new mistake that should be rejected.

I hope this helps.

Ken F said...

RB,
My interpretation is those prayers say the opposite. They say that Jesus went to hell not to be punished, but rather to defeat it.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rex Ray said...

Tom,

I believe our basic understand of the relationship between God and Israel is different because we don’t have the same understanding of what Jesus said to Israel in the parable of the Great Banquet in Matthew 22:1-10.

“…he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. [Jews?] but they refused to come! So he sent other servants to tell them…But the guest ignored them…Others seized his messengers and…killed them.” [“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers!” Matthew 23:37 NLT]

https://www.gotquestions.org/parable-great-banquet.html

This link states: “The basic message of the Parable of the Great Banquet could be stated this way: The tragedy of the Jewish rejection of Christ has opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles. The blessings of the kingdom are available to all who will come to Christ by faith.”


Ken F.

(First verse)
O land of rest, for thee I sigh!
When will the moment come
When I shall lay my armor by
And dwell in peace at home?
Refrain:
We’ll work till Jesus comes,
We’ll work till Jesus comes,
We’ll work till Jesus comes,
And we’ll be gathered home.
(Last verse)
I sought at once my Savior’s side;
No more my steps shall roam;
With Him I’ll brave death’s chilling tide
And reach my heavenly home.

Last Sunday at our church, a 77 year-old-man asked for volunteers to help him build a church in Orange, Texas. At 87, I said I’d help by giving him a sheetrock machine I’d not used in years.

I’ve helped once in Kyrgyzstan, three times in Israel, thirteen times in Japan, countless times with “Volunteer Christian Builders” & “The Master’s Builders”, and more than I can remember in Mexico.

With that said, have you worked for Jesus other than getting ‘educated’ by other ‘educated’ men?

Ken F said...

Hi Rex,
I am not going to play the "Who's-a-better-Christian" game because 1) I will lose every time (I concede defeat) and 2) it has no bearing on the discussion (the veracity of a statement has nothing to do with the character of the one stating it). My intent on commenting, in which I apparently failed, was to suggest that there are other valid ways to view the problem and that some of the currently fashionable viewpoints might be flawed.

Christiane said...

Hello Ken F.

well, in hopes of introducing you properly to my friend REX RAY as I know him best,
let me share with you something that REX RAY and I wrote on Wade's blog a few years back,
this:


" Rex Ray said...
Wade,
Been thinking about C.S. Lewis’ statement: "A man is never as proud as when striking an attitude of humility,"

I think of two athletes accomplishing the same victory: One hollers, beats his chest, and gives the ‘number one’ signal.
The other stands quietly with bowed head as if giving thanks to God.

Taking Lewis’ statement as being good, it would declare the second athlete more proud than the first. With humility, God did not communicate with Elijah with wind, earthquake, or fire, but with a still small voice. With a voice like a dove: “This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!”

If Lewis’s statement is taken as bad, it’s something like a preacher with his chest swelled out on the inside for admitting his faults.

I fit that scenario many years ago. On a mission trip in Mexico, I learned a church was about to loose its land as three years was about to expire to complete its building. All they had was two rows of concrete blocks when they ran out of money as most lived in cardboard shacks. I gave about a year’s tithe to buy all their materials. It wasn’t that much as the roof was tin and the floor was dirt.

Our 500 member church at the time was ‘collecting’ money to change the carpet from red to blue. As a young deacon; I was asked to pray for the offering. During the prayer, I confessed I felt like a hypocrite since I had not given anything as I had given to a needed church. I don’t know why I started crying. Maybe it was because of the goal of our church, but I know it wasn’t repentance on my part. Still crying going back to my seat, a lady I didn’t know gave me a long embrace. I was never asked to pray again.

Mon Aug 03, 07:59:00 AM 2009
Christiane said...
Dear REX,

From the Eastern Christian tradition, comes this teaching:

"Our Lord cries to us in the depths of our hearts,
"Awake 0 sleeper, rise up from among the dead, and Christ will illumine you".

"And you shall be as I fashioned you, a child of light capable of great compassion and love. And then I will awaken within you my Holy Spirit. You will know the profound love without limits I have for you.

And your flow of tears will witness to the melting of frozen places within you. The softening of your tear stained face will be an invitation for me to take up my abode in your heart. I will remove from you all harsh judgement"



REX, we know this: that God comes to the humble places of the Earth: a stable with a dirt floor in Nazareth long ago, or a 'cathedral' built with a tin roof and a dirt floor in a place far away.

You said, "I don’t know why I started crying."
Maybe the memory of the holy ground of that dirt-floored church overflowed in the place where 'changing the color of a carpet' was considered the way to honor God? The contrast must have been very painful."

Mon Aug 03, 10:28:00 AM 2009"


Ken F.
Rex Ray and I have communicated for a decade on line, and we are as different in our theology backgrounds and our politics and you can get,
but don't let him fool you, he has a good heart for people and is, in his way, a humble Christian man of great faith. :)

Tom said...

Rex,

I read your link and saw that it was missing the point. The parable was not just about the ethnic Jews being invited to eat the prepared super in the man’s house, it was about all those who said that they will come and when they are informed of the time to come, just like you and me. Jesus was stating that when the time comes to enter the dining hall to eat the supper, that the ones who had been invited previously, both “snobbish” Jews and Gentiles will find excuses not to go as invited.

When those who were invited reject the invitation by the man’s servants, he then sends the servants out into the rest of the world where the lowly Jewish and Gentile poor, maimed, lame and blind live and began inviting them instead. The lowly responded with their feet and walked into the feast and sat down with the master of the house.

The linked commentary was attempting to malign the Nation of Israel and saying that the Israel of Israel has now been rejected by the Lord to be His servants as a Kingdom of priest, Holy Nation and His Possession among the Nations.

In making that claim, the author of the linked commentary has rejected the Ezekiel prophecies where God tells us that He will personally go out into the world and gather the unrebellious Saints in the Nation of Israel to Himself and will plant them in fertile soil so that they can draw nourishment from the soil and that God will teach them what the need to know about the Kingdom of God so that they can minister to the people around them where God found them scattered throughout the whole earth.

Rex, it seems to me that you support an antisemitic theology and as such I will oppose it in my comments.

Shalom

PS: - What does John 3:14-17 tell us: -

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up that whoever, {irrespective of race or origin}, believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, {irrespective of race or origin}, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever, {irrespective of race or origin}, believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world, {irrespective of race or origin}, to condemn the world, but that the world, {irrespective of race or origin}, through Him might be saved.

I do not see Israel is rejected in these verses as the commentary you recommended does.

Rex Ray said...

Ken F.

That was a nice reply. I’d be interested on your take of the Great Banquet parable in regards to Israel.

RB Kuter said...

Christiane says from the ancient Easter sermon of Chrysostom, "God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled." and "The Lord goes into them holding His victorious weapon, His cross."

Ken F says, "My interpretation is those prayers say the opposite. They say that Jesus went to hell not to be punished, but rather to defeat it."

You see guys, I feel pretty confident that we are all saying the same thing.

If we could only sit at a table together chatting and drinking coffee we would all probably quickly realize that our main differences are the shapes of our noses.

Still, the dialogue on this site is enjoyable.

Ken F said...

Rex,
I have not dived into that topic enough to provide a useful opinion. I suspect that God is much more loving, faithful, and inclusive than any of us can imagine.

Rex Ray said...

My apologies to Christian and Tom because when I told Ken F. “That was a nice reply…” I had not read Christian’s and Tom’s comments.

My goodness Christiane, how did you remember so long ago?


Tom,
It’s interesting how you interpret the Great Banquet parable. Do you agree a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning? Therefore, the King in the parable would be God.

You said, “Jesus was stating that when the time comes to enter the dining hall to eat the supper, that the ones who had been invited previously, both “snobbish” Jews and Gentiles will find excuses not to go as invited.”

You would be correct if it were not for these verses in the parable. “Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them. The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town.” (Mathew 22:6-7 NLT)

Tom, “snobbish” people don’t kill people. These are the ones that kill people. After his parable in Matthew 22, Jesus in the next chapter states:

“Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” (Mathew 23:37 NLT)

Tom, do you agree that Jesus was rejected by the Jews? “He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.” (John 1:11 NLT)

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray and Tom, may I be so intrusive as to get involved in this conversation on the Banquet and the nation of Israel? It is intriguing and you have stoked my desire to share an opinion.

I think there are many references involving comments made by Jesus that were directed to the Jewish power players who had distorted and abused the Covenant relationship between God and Israel, particularly, as it was used by them to oppress the "people" of Israel. Great compassion is shown for "Israel" by Christ as He relates to them and fights for them and encourages them by intentionally identifying as being one of them. Many of them responded to Him by ultimately believing in Him and "coming to the banquet table". They are the ones who took the Gospel message to the known world and to Jerusalem and all parts of Israel. They are the Jews that shared the Kingdom message to the Gentiles and globalized its approach.

So surely there are many Jews who have, are, and will be, at the banquet table. On the other hand, those power players who demanded the crucifixion of Jesus, persecuted the early church (initially virtually all Jews) are the type that rejects the invitation to the Banquet table and are disdained and judged by God.

In terms of the Jews, or Israel, being the ones who nailed Jesus to the cross, I know you would agree that it was not them. It was ME! I hate to consider it, knowing what I do now, but I was in the crowd yelling, "CRUCIFY HIM!" So was anyone who has ever sinned. There is no way to put it on one ethnicity or nation. If those 11 Jewish disciples who loved Him the most, who had lived with him over the prior three years, abandoned Him and denied Him during that critical time, I know I would not have been any better.

Count me as being part of the bad "Jews" who crucified Him. Count me as part of the new "Jews" who are sitting at the Banquet table.

Christiane said...

"In terms of the Jews, or Israel, being the ones who nailed Jesus to the cross, I know you would agree that it was not them. It was ME! I hate to consider it, knowing what I do now, but I was in the crowd yelling, "CRUCIFY HIM!" So was anyone who has ever sinned. There is no way to put it on one ethnicity or nation. . . . .
Count me as being part of the bad "Jews" who crucified Him. Count me as part of the new "Jews" who are sitting at the Banquet table."

well said, Mr. Kuter, well said


Christiane said...

Good Morning, REX RAY

"My goodness Christiane, how did you remember so long ago?"

what you wrote long ago stayed with me and formed a part of the encouragement of my own belief in Our Lord, a belief that selfless giving and humility are at the heart of what the Church is all about.
I was much moved by what you wrote long ago. I will not forget your testimony, no. It was then and still remains a blessing. :)

Tom said...

RB Kuter,

Thank you for your comments. They were spot on.

When the reformation began, the churches that formed during the reformation, persecuted the Jews because they believed that the Jews were responsible for killing "their Christ." They even turn on newly formed reformation churches because those churches dared to be different to them.

The persecuted churches and the Jews moved west across the ocean to the New Americas and formed new colonies where they felt safe from their fellow bothers in Christ or from the persecution of the church because of their Jewish heritage. It can be said that the church was as much responsible for the scattering of the Jewish nation as was Greece the gentile nation identified in Joel as being responsible. We must remember that the Roman empire came out of Alexandra the Greats Empire when he died, and his empire was divided between the four generals that were with him and were his friends in battle.

Because many believe that God only promised Abraham "land," i.e. the "Promised Land", they miss the fact that God said that he would take Abraham and his descendants to an earth that he would show them in the distant future. This is the same earth that we will inherit after the final great time of judgement and look forward after God refurbishes the heavens and the earth at the beginning of the Age that follows the Age of the Ages.

We look forward to this inheritance which was first given to Abraham and to further this outcome, God at Mt Sinai entered into a Kingdom of Priests, a Holy Nation and His possession among the nations Covenant with the twelve tribes of Israel but while Moses was up on the mountain with God, they rebelled against this covenant that they willingly entered into with God. Moses interceded on their behalf and God relented of His sin of wanting to kill them all to start again with the descendants of Moses.

The Bible tells us of their story as they journey towards the promised inheritance that they with the Gentiles will receive and it tells us that they will repent of their idolatrous worship and that at the end of the fourth age of their existence, in our near future, that God will once more enter into the same covenant made at Mt Sinai, but with a tweak or two, with the Israelites who are not in rebellion against God at that time.

We the Gentile Saints will look on in wonder and rejoice at the return of the Prodigal Son as told in Hosea and the scope and magnitude of God's forgiveness for all people who turn to worship Him. we all need a heart like the Father's heart which shows God's forgiveness through us to all of mankind during all time and particularly after the time that God's Everlasting Kingdom is established here on the earth.

We the Saint have a calling to be a blessing to all the peoples of the earth to show them the way to Mt Zion.

Shalom

Rex Ray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Ah, I didn’t think you quoted me correctly until I checked my comment of Mon Aug 03, 07:59:00 AM 2009.

Why I wrote: “I gave about a year’s tithe to buy all their materials”, I don’t know.

I debated wither to forget it, or explain the truth. The truth won out so here’s “The rest of the story’.

The amount of money was NOT “a year’s tithe”. It was ‘Lottie Moon time’. When I learned the Mexican church was going to lose their land they’d bought because they’d not completed their building, I called my wife and told her to give only half the amount to ‘Lottie Moon because I was giving half to the Mexican pastor. ($1,000)

He didn’t have a bank account so he gave the check to a missionary to get the money. The missionary tried to give him the money, but the pastor refused; saying if word got out he had that much money, he might be killed to get it. The missionary kept the money in the bank and paid the material bills.

When I was asked to pray for the fund to buy new carpet, I said I felt like a hypocrite because I hadn’t given a penny to the fund and explained about the dirt floor and tin roof church. I did shed tears going to my seat where some lady gave me a hug before I got there. (Our church didn’t change our red carpet to blue, and I wasn’t in the number of our pastor’s favorite deacons.)